Products that deliver care
It’s that time of year when we need to make promises to look after ourselves, and in particular our skin.
The bitter cold weather that has hit Europe, Britain and North America is a reminder to protect – protect – and moisturise our skin.
As cancer patients, we have even more reason to do so; if we don’t, we risk ending up with very dry, lined and peeling skin caused by side effect of our drugs, and in the worst scenario this causes splits, lesions and leaves us open to infection – ughhh!
The Telegraph says the average British woman spends £483 per person on anti-ageing products (doesn’t mention men – but bet they are just as eager buyers).
Each day a new cream gets launched on the beauty counter,
But how do we know which and what to buy?
It’s all very well telling us how much we spend, but I bet a large amount of the £483 goes on products that promise the earth – but don’t deliver. And unless you are a research chemist, it is difficult to know what is good for your skin and what is just advertising hype.
You have no idea what fantastic rubbish comes across my desk – whenever there is a launch of some ‘celeb’ product, suddenly I am the PR girl’s best friend. But – I always insist on trying anything new on myself, knowing full well that if the product isn’t very good, the PR machine will do everything in its power to blind one with champagne and gifts, but never let you actually try out the product.
And now, with Valentine’s Day coming up, a lot of ‘cheap ‘companies are out to entice unsuspecting men into buying some very dubious ‘skincare’. So if you are at all worried, I suggest you print out this page and ring round the products you think might suit you.
Here is a selection of the goodies that have been sent to me to try, and which I found actually did work on me.
REMEMBER – I am NOT medically qualified, so it is best to ask advice of your CNS, dermatologist or chemist first – and then do a test by rubbing a small amount on your arm – waiting 24 hours to see if your skin reacts – then if OK go ahead.
BATH and SHOWER PRODUCTS
WELEDA Citrus Refreshing Bath Milk. This is just the product to help counter winter winds. Weleda are old and firm favourites with me, and I love their Bath Milk lotions. Whenever I need a soak after a hard day’s work, or want to re-nourish my skin (or both), I pour in bath milk to replenish the moisture in my skin. As its name says, this has a lovely Citrus scent (watch out the males don’t pinch it!) and first time I used it I just floated away. £9.50 for 200 ml.
Because if so, I would hate Arran Aromatics Angelica Body Lotion to cost any more! Although for £12 for 300 mml it is very good value, especially as it is keeping my skin lovely and soft whilst the winter is doing its worst.
This company makes a lovely selection of goodies, all of which are reasonably priced. And their products come in delightful soft, flowery scents, which shouldn’t upset any scent police! www.arranaromatics.com
If you have a cold bathroom, or just find it too tiring to spread on cream, try body oils. These are lighter, and easier to ‘spread’, but are just as good as creams and lotions. There are two types: 1. Shower oils to use for cleansing, and 2. Body oils to use after a bath/shower.
One of my favoourite shower oils is made by the French company, L’Occitane. Currently I am using their Almond (Amande) oil, but they also make a dreamy Citrus Verbena scent. Buy these from the QVC channel online shop, as they often have very good deals. www.qvcuk.com
Nature’s Inspiration Lavender Body Scrub is a gorgeous treat that does one’s skin an incredible amount of good. It smells nice (which helps) because it uses Lavender, used also for antiseptics; comes with a dinky measuring scoop (which is ideal for cooking), and it really smoothes off those rough patches that skin gets in the winter – as well as nourishing and moisturing skin.
I am a great believer in simple packaging, so as to save the trees. But this company goes one further and says all its jars and packaging are from ethical companies. Not only that, but for once, when I have finished a beauty product, I can use the jar for storing herbs and other cooking ingredients.
Cost £14 and can be purchased on www.naturesinspiration.co.uk or on Amazon.
A very pretty slightly scented cleanser wash, scented with Jasmine which has healing properties. It conditions at the same time, and hydrates skin, but doesn’t leave a residue.
The bottle is all the right ‘eco’ things, and I liked its design – eco-friendly products don’t have to look ‘goodie-goodie’!
And the bottle lasted a long time; when I came near the end I opened it up, put in some water and had at least another week’s washes out of the bottle.
From the same stable comes Clary Sage and Evening Primrose Oil contains what is says on the label, and both plants are good for skin. It’s an anti-ageing facial oil, and works wonders in reducing those nasty signs of skin ageing. With a clean herbie scent, the combined natural properties in the oils are powerful workers to help repair skin. Use it every day, and you will soon find that your skin is much smoother. £21.99 www.keepimmaculate.com
Tripping up the stairs to the local beauty salon, I noticed there were boxes of products from a firm called ENVIRON. Talking to Joanne, as she gave me a massage, they said they were trying out Environ Advanced Skincare, and suggested I tried their Ionzyme C-Quence Cleanser.
As they say on their website, “Environ® skin care products have been formulated to combat and relieve the harmful effects of the harsh climatic changes of today’s environment specifically pollution and ever-increasing doses of radiation from the sun due to the thinning of the protective ozone layer. Added to these are the modern-day effects of social and work stresses and poor diet”.
The cleanser certainly performed well, and not only cleanses my face, but leaves it soft and moist. You need to have a personalised consultation with a trained Environ therapist before you can buy any environ products. So call 0800 0433 365 for more information.
Part of the Estée Lauder giant group that does so much to help us, Weil have come up with Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief.
I did start to read the bumf – but was more interested that using this serum on my face twice a day, the ‘grey’ look disappeared from my skin, and it came alive.
The little bottle lasted a long time too – about three months – so well worth the £56.
Once the mushrooms have done their best, you can change to a milder lotion, the Mega-Mushroom Soothing Treatment Lotion at £24.
If, like me, you dread washing your hair and having cold drips down your neck, there is a lovely ‘cheat’ product on the market:
Or you can use RICHARD WARD’S Couture Hair Optimiser Hair Reviver. I spray this on my hair when my salon blow dry is starting to look past it’s sell-by date, and lo and behold, the waves bounce back. It’s a bit like a hair spray that gives my hair a lift, and saves my set for another day!
Richard Ward makes lots of different products, and all at reasonable prices under £20. His website is worth looking at; no hype, no false promises, just a lot of sensible wording to help you choose the right product for your hair. And what’s even nicer, no mention that he does the Duchess of Cambridge’e gorgeous hair. And the rest of the Middleton family. www.richardward.com
Soap can be very drying, so I have tried out ‘soap in a dispenser’, that you just pump out – and am finding my hands are much less scratchy. One of nicest I have come across is made by Neom; Organic Handwash, in one of their lovely scents : Moroccan Blush Rose. I had thought that these handwashes would be better for my hands, but now I have come to the end of the first bottle, I wish I had discovered this before. At this time of the year my hands were usually rought and sore, but now they are so much smoother.
Tip: Keep a bottle or jar of hand cream by EVERY tap in your home. And one by your front door next to the house keys, so you pop some on every time you go out. You need this to protect your hands from cold winter winds and to re-moisturise whenever you wash your hands; and it’s also useful in the summer if you choose one with an SPF number to protect from the sun. Doing duty by my taps at the moment are:
Essie Intensive Recovery Hand Cream – which I love. Not sticky, but I can feel it soaking in and doing my poor dry hands some good. It also repairs cuticles, so does double duty. Essie make excellent hand care products, and I am about to try out some of their nail products to try and counter the damage that drugs do to them. When I told them about the problems we face, they came back with excellent advice, which showed their research chemists had looked into the harm that drugs do to our skin. Nice people. – if only the medical profession would work with Essie and similar companies to help find solutions to our problems, rather than the doctors looking down their noses.
Just under £20, and you can get it from umpteen websites, if it isn’t in your local store.
I now know why my girlfriends always want to ‘wash their hands’ when they visit: they look to see what hand cream they can ‘borrow’.
provides products for gardeners, one of which is their fabulour Citronella Handcream. When you buy a jar, do get another one for anyone you know who is a keen gardener, because the quirky garden designs around the jar make it look less ‘girly’ than most. They will love the list of ingredients, all written in the Latin names they are used to (in English as well!). They also list ”not tested on animals’, whereupon a visiting dog immediately went to the jar I had opened to lick it! Didn’t do him any harm though, but I snatched it back as it does my hands a lot of good.
And do have a look at their website: it explains that “when we’re not rescuing and recycling, we design simple useful products with a subtle sense of humour and nice labels. We also source some things from small family run companies who have been making the same things for generations”. www.baileyshome.com
Clinique has sent me a jar of their new REPAIRWEAR UPLIFTING FIRMING CREAM. This will be in the shops in a month or so, and well worth putting your name down to be the first to try this out.
As Clinique reminds us, as we age, natural processes in the skin begin to slow down. Skin begins to lose volume, collagen and elastin production decreases and the pull of gravity starts to show. All these factors lead to a loss of cushion that keeps the face looking plump and youthful.
But after trying out this Repairwear cream, my skin really is looking miles better. It’s firmer; its glow has returned and I can look at myself in the mirror without having to stare at lines and wrinkles. Apparently the cream uses modern technology to help repair and rebuild the skin, and I was interested to see that the formula includes Mitostime, a botanical extract derived from brown algae harvested off the coast of France. I have written elsewhere about the benefits that seaweed contains, and this is another product that is making use of age-old ingredients in a modern way. Clinique says it helps strengthen the foundation of the skin, providing the tension to support the collagen and elastin matrix.
Like all their products, this is Allergy Tested. 100% Fragrance Free. Oil-Free. Dermatologist Tested.
Ophthalmologist Tested. For Stockist: 0870 034 2566. www.clinique.co.uk
RRP £ £50.00 / €68.0
Those helpful people at Flexitol have come up with a ‘saver’ for our poor nails: Nail Revitaliser Gel. On the package it says it is ‘for discoloured and thickened nails’, but Flexitol suggested it might help with my nails that are literally crumbling away, thanks to side effects of one of my drugs (can’t find out which one).
I was having to file my nails two or three times a day, to get rid of crumbling and splitting tips, and use sharp nail scissors at least once a day to cut off split ends. I have only used this Gel for two weeks, but so far I am down to filing my nails about every three days, and only once have I had a split I have had to cut off.
The gel comes in a small tube with a brush applicator at the end. Very easy to apply to nails, and I have it sitting by my lap top so I can pick it up when waiting on the phone – then I am not wasting my time listening to so-called Helplines ringing.
It will take about two months before my nails grow out completely, so watch this space!
It’s available onliner or at most branches of Boots – and costs £6 – £10, depending on offers.
Enjoy – and let’s hope for warmer winds!